Friday, August 16, 2019

UCPAC Presents Into the Woods at Hamilton Stage

Union County Performing Arts Center presents Into the Woods from Friday, September 6th to Saturday, September 21st at the Hamilton Stage in Rahway, NJ.

ICON 2018 winner, Jared Milian, has chosen Into the Woods as his dream show. The wildly popular musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lepine intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. Jared will be playing the role of the Witch.

Friday, September 6, 2019 – 8:00PM
Saturday, September 7, 2019 – 8:00PM
Sunday, September 8, 2019 – 2:00PM
Friday, September 13, 2019 – 8:00PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 8:00PM
Sunday, September 15, 2019 – 2:00PM
Friday, September 20, 2019 – 8:00PM
Saturday, September 21, 2019 – 8:00PM

The Union County Performing Arts Center’s Hamilton Stage is located at 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway, NJ.

General admission tickets, starting at $25.00, can be purchased at, in person at the Box Office, or by calling 732.499.8226. The Box Office can be reached via email at

Theater Project celebrating 25th Anniversary with Casino Royale Gala

Gambling on the arts is always a good bet!Help us celebrate 25 years of taking chances
on thought-provoking plays, original work,
and even an occasional classic.


Your ticket for the event includes: 
  • buffet dinner 
  • betting chips for the table games
  • many chances to win prizes.

A cash bar will be available.

Tickets: $75 per person until September 6 when the price increases to $85 -- buy early!


Saturday, October 5th, Noon to 4:00 PM

Galloping Hill Caterers, 
1085 Galloping Hill Rd, Union, NJ 07083

Thursday, August 15, 2019

2nd Annual Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival August 30

A new film festival designed just for the youth is now free for kids and teens. The 2nd Annual Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival takes places on Friday, August 30, 2019, at the Paul Robeson Campus Center Dance Theater at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Kids and teens under the age of 17-year’s-old are admitted free of charge with an accompanied adult. The festival features a diverse collection of short-films created by youth filmmakers.
Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and individual donations made by supporters of the event, the festival organizer, Mahogany Reynolds, decide to make the festival free for children. Parents who purchase an adult ticket can bring their children at no additional charge. Tickets can be purchased on the festival website
“It is important to me that parents can afford to bring the entire family to this youth driven festival.  I feel honored to be in a position, thanks to sponsors and supporters, to serve the community in this way. The Just Be You Festival has something for everyone. Films, singing, theater, and music. It’s truly a one of a kind event designed for our youth,” said Reynolds, the founder and executive director of Just Be You Performing Arts.
“What makes this festival unique is that its sole and main focus is the youth. To see a festival in which the youth have the opportunity to display their talents and abilities is remarkable. What inspired me to return as the host again this year; was the children, and the founder of the festival. I want children to know that they are a major contribution to the entertainment industry, and that their work, and voices matter. Mahogany has such a genuine heart, and her impact on children; and her love for what she does makes this festival stand out,” said Crystal NuChurch, accomplished actress of Jersey City, New Jersey, who hosted the inaugural festival in 2018.
This year’s festival is co-hosted by kids from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. CJ Thompson of Jersey City, New Jersey, Mya Mosley of Newark, New Jersey, and Amelia Alfriero of Pipersville, Pennsylvania. Reynolds; a seasoned journalist and talk show host, held a casting call and children from all over the metro area applied. She is training the three selected co-hosts, on stage presence, public speaking, and interviewing skills, to help prepare them for the festival.
Special Addition Films in ASL
A special feature being added to this season of the Just Be You Festival is showcasing films that include American Sign Language (ASL). Reynolds deemed it vital to make the festival all-inclusive and saw a need for children with hearing disabilities to be able to enjoy a film festival. The new children’s comedy series “CHI-nanigans” will be the festival’s special featured film. Jil Ross, of Chicago, Illinois, creator of the series, will be in attendance for a rare Q&A session. Based upon  a diverse cast of kids and their adventures in their Chicago neighborhood, Ross produced several episodes of the “CHI-nanigans” series with ASL, to reach a wider audience of children.
“I have a cousin who was born deaf and as children I felt bad that he usually sat apart from us (other cousins) because he couldn’t hear the television and captions were not an option at the time. In addition most individuals born deaf learn to sign by the age of six months but typically read between the ages of 9 and 11.  I identified  a  market of people (between the ages of one and nine years old) who are otherwise, still today, are ostracized because they can’t hear, and have not yet learned to read captions. This bridges that gap and makes the conversation and televised content more inclusive,” said Ross.
Reynolds decided to make “CHI-nanigans” a special feature at the festival because Ross’ shared vision of all-inclusiveness. Ross is an American author, playwright, storyteller, screenwriter, and producer who is best known for The Shenanigans Series™ of children’s books which she began publishing in 2003. While growing up, she was often in the company of family, neighbors, and friends who lived with conditions such as stuttering, deafness, albinism, dwarfism, vitiligo, and alopecia, Ross explained. Her goal has been to create comedy; in a humorous yet respectful way, that showcases inclusion in a way that’s not currently being explored. The stories she writes are inspired by her real-life events.
I’m honored to be a finalist in the Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival. My intention was simply to change the trajectory of film, televised content, and the overall viewing experience. So being recognized for this effort is truly the cherry on top. It’s not what I was seeking. My ASL episodes currently have more views than the non ASL, which confirms to me that there is a need for this kind of inclusion. I think in today’s tense social climate, it’s important that we reach across the line to include people with different abilities, whatever those abilities are,” said Ross.
Highlight on New Jersey Youth Filmmakers
The Just Be You Festival will screen a diverse array of short-films in the categories of: animation, documentary, short feature, dance video, music video, and live action. The submission process was world wide and youth filmmakers from all over the globe submitted their films. A special emphasis was placed on New Jersey youth filmmakers and the festival will include films made by several students at New Jersey schools. One such school is Middletown High School North, in Middletown, New Jersey.
Film and Television teacher, Christopher Cullen, submitted films on behalf of his students. Three of those films were selected as finalist in the festival. “Pieces of Mosaic” a dance film by Yazemin Yilmaz, “The Letter” a short feature by Joanna Downing, Alyssa McCall and Joanna Downing, and “Beyond Dreams” a documentary also by Yilmaz. In 2018, one of Cullen’s former students, Alex Lehotsky, received the festival’s Best New Jersey Filmmaker Youth Division Award. They are now up for three awards this year.
“I am very excited for my students having three films in this year's festival.  Last year I went to the festival and saw so much talent and had a wonderful time. One of my students won an award for her short film last season and now she is attending Montclair Film School.  I can not wait to come to this year's screenings and represent my students and Middletown North High School.  I will be going into my third year as the TV/Film teacher and I hope we can continue our success,” said Cullen.

Tickets to the festival can be purchased at Kids and teens attend free with an accompanied adult ticket purchase. Seniors receive a special discount to the festival. The festival starts at 12 noon with a free workshop for kids in the performing arts. Following the workshop will be the film screenings. The festival concludes with an awards ceremony that features special performances and VIP Special Guest Speaker, Skyy Luke, of Jersey City, New Jersey, an award-winning actress and professional public speaker. To close the event, Reynolds will premiere her original short-play, “Bereaved, Befuddled & Bewildered”, a family drama, inspired by a true story, staring actors from New Jersey and New York.

“We are all very excited about this year’s festival. A lot of hard work and love has gone into the planning process. Our goal is for every seat to be filled with kids to enjoy a festival that is made just for them,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds is actively seeking sponsors and vendors to participate in the festival. To learn more about the how to become a sponsor or register to be vendor, visit their website. 

NJSO Opening Night Gala October 11th

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra begins the 2019–20 season—Music Director Xian Zhang’s fourth season with the NJSO—with an Opening Night Celebration Gala on October 11 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The gala honors Turrell Fund President & CEO Curtland E. Fields and recognizes the significant contributions the fund has made to enrich the lives of children in the Greater Newark community with the experience of live symphonic music through the Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs.

The opening-weekend concert program, led by Zhang at 7:30 pm, pairs music and visuals in Holst’s The Planets, with NASA imagery in HD, and the NJSO premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Hiraeth, with an accompanying film by Mark DeChiazza. The women of Newark Voices return to bring an ethereal element to Holst’s masterwork. Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 opens the program.

The gala evening includes a pre-concert cocktail party with hors d’ oeuvres and an open bar at 5:30 pm; a post-concert dinner offers opportunities to meet and mingle with Zhang, musicians and special guests. Complimentary valet parking will be provided for all gala attendees. The gala is sponsored by Investors Bank.

All proceeds from the gala event will support the NJSO as it enriches lives through its artistic, music education and community engagement programs.

The NJSO repeats the concert performance on October 12 at 8 pm at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank and October 13 at 3 pm at NJPAC. Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

COCKTAILS & CONCERT TICKET: $280* per person (includes a tax-deductible contribution of $90)
Pre-concert cocktail party, concert seating and valet parking.

COCKTAILS, CONCERT & DINNER TICKET: $780* per person (includes a tax-deductible contribution of $485)
Pre-concert cocktail party, concert seating, gala dinner and valet parking.

*Discounted tickets are available for patrons who already have tickets to the October 11 concert.

Sponsorship and Dinner Table packages ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 are also available. For more information, please contact Laura Bessey, NJSO Manager of Special Events, at or 973.735.1729.

Full gala information is available at

Curtland E. Fields, Turrell Fund President & CEO
Curt Fields became a trustee of the Turrell Fund, a foundation serving children, in 1997. The fund’s mission is to give at-risk children the basic elements for success in life. For more than 25 years, the Turrell Fund has generously supported the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs in the greater Newark area, including NJSO Youth Orchestras, Concerts for Young People and the Preschool Program. These programs afford students an appreciation for the arts and the benefits of a quality music education, and they enliven our community with vibrant cultural opportunities.

Fields was appointed president & CEO of the fund in 2005, after a distinguished 31-year career with AT&T. As a senior executive officer of AT&T, Fields served as president of the $2 billion Consumer Services Division, and prior to that as president of AT&T’s largest operating region, in the Midwest. His experience with the company included assignments of increasing responsibility in finance, operations and marketing, as well as key activities in the Office of the Chairman. He also served as a director of the ATC Technology Corporation until its acquisition in 2010 by privately held GENCO; Lucent Technologies, Inc., through its initial public offering; and the AT&T Universal Card, until its acquisition by Citigroup.

A native of Washington, DC, Fields holds an undergraduate degree in architecture and engineering, with high honors, from Princeton University. He also holds an MBA in finance and marketing, with honors, from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fields serves on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Center Theater in New York City and Caucus Educational Corporation, and he has a been an NJSO trustee for 16 years.

Holst’s The Planets in HD
Friday, October 11, at 7:30 pm | NJPAC in Newark
Saturday, October 12, at 8 pm | Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank
Sunday, October 13, at 3 pm | NJPAC in Newark

XIAN ZHANG conductor
Women of NEWARK VOICES | Heather J. Buchanan, conductor

ELGAR Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
SARAH KIRKLAND SNIDER Hiraeth (with film by Mark DeChiazza) (NJSO Premiere)
HOLST The Planets—An HD Odyssey (with film) (produced by Duncan Copp)

Learn more at

Bank of America is concert sponsor of the October 13 performance.

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People and the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez. NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners program.

Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or at

Connect with Us:
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NJSymphony
YouTube: @NewJerseySymphony

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Director Ezra Barnes accepting applications for Young Actors Workshop



IMG 9581
Photo by Joseph Henry Ritter

Aria Standing Misalliance
Aria working on an audition monologue
Ezra Barnes, Director
Collaboration, communication, decisiveness, focus, empathy, self-reliance, joy! Acting skills that go beyond the stage.
Afterschool Classes in Cobble Hill (Christ Church) and Clinton Hill (Brooklyn Free School) Register for the whole year and receive 15% off.
*Ages 7-9:
THE PLAY’S THE THING, Age: Games, Improv, Short Plays
Mondays, 4:00-5:00 p.m., September 16-December 16 (no class September 30, October 14 and November 11): $320 (Christ Church)
*Ages 10-13:
THE YOUNG ACTORS WORKOUT: Scenes, Improv, Games, Short Plays
Mondays, 5:30-6:50 p.m., September 16-December 16 (no class September 30, October 14 and November 11): $320 (Christ Church)
Tuesdays, 3:40-5:00 p.m., September 17-December 17 (no class October 1): $380 (Bklyn. Free School)
*8th Graders:
AUDITION WORKSHOP for Performing Arts High School Applicants
Mondays 7:00-8:30 p.m., September 9-November 25 (no class September 30, October 14 and November 11): $360, limited to 6 students (Christ Church)
*Ages 13-18:
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m., September 17-December 17 (no class October 1): $380 (Christ Church)

*Audition Prep & Private Coaching
If your child is preparing for an audition for school admission, a theater production or an on-camera project, or if they cannot attend classes at scheduled times, coaching is available by appointment.

Friday group shot
*Want details about how we do it?
Want to know about Discounts and Scholarships?
Classes are located in Cobble Hill (Christ Church on the corner of Clinton and Kane Streets) and Clinton Hill (Brooklyn Free School, 372 Clinton Avenue).
To REGISTER: Download the registration form on the website. Please fill it out and return it to me by email. Or give a ring (917-992-8852). Don’t hesitate to ask questions! I’m always happy to tell you more about the classes.

Making theater sharpens debating skills (Ezra Barnes and Marlo Sausville, photo by Joseph Henry Ritter)
Ezra Barnes is an actor, award-winning director, producer and teacher. His numerous Off-Broadway appearances include the hit Breakfast With Mugabe, a critic’s pick of the New York Times and Best New Play nominee for the Off Broadway Alliance Awards. He received the Outstanding Director Award from the Connecticut Critics Circle for his production of The Diary of Anne Frank in 2018. A Shakespearean expert, he founded Connecticut’s Shakespeare on the Sound, considered one of the premier outdoor classical theaters in the area, and served as its Artistic Director for 14 years, directing and playing in many of the Bard’s plays. TV appearances include featured roles on Orange is The New Black, Jessica Jones, Blue Bloods, Law & Order, SVU, Bored to Death, and As the World Turns. Film appearance include Motherless Brooklyn, Noah, Joshua and Once More With Feeling. A longtime Brooklyn resident and parent, Ezra has taught theater for young people at Saint Ann’s School, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Poly Prep, the Harvey Milk School and Piper Theatre.

IMG 7478
photo by Joseph Henry Ritter


©2019 Young Actors Workshop | 144 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11201